Having grown up on a farm, plants have always been a large part of Lucinda Bray’s life. “My dad instilled in me a faith and love for growing things, a trait for which I will be forever grateful,” she says. But in 2012, after years of working in the Atlanta landscaping industry, she decided that it was time to plant her own seeds and grow a business. The harvest from those seedlings has been rich. Over the past nine years, her garden design business Floralis has received more than 30 awards for completed projects from the Georgia Urban Agriculture Council and the National Association of Landscape Professionals. This high-powered entrepreneur isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
Q: Do you think working in a male-dominated field made your path to entrepreneurship more difficult?
Lucinda Bray: Growing up on a dairy farm taught me the value of hard work at a young age. But what it also gave me was a unique background that would forever make me stand out in the crowd. You can look at the difficulties women have in maledominated industries, or you can focus on the positive “purple elephant” effect. When there’s anything about you that’s less common, you stand out more. In my case, being female, driving a pickup truck, having grown up with cows as pets and loving the ability to put my hands in the soil to grow something all make me more memorable.
Q: What’s been the most challenging part of your career so far, and how did you overcome it?
LB: The biggest challenge in my career has been getting over the fear of the unknown. I’m sure I join the ranks of most business owners with this response, but going out on your own is a tough leap to take. I now somehow find myself on the other side of my fear, not looking back but instead looking forward to all that’s yet to come. The one thing most responsible for my success has been my drive and desire. I will always strive to be the hardest worker in the room.
Q: In what ways do you approach your craft that’s different from those who came before you?
LB: I tend to be a very hands-on landscape architect. Some days you’ll find me sitting at the computer drafting construction plans and the next day on a project with my hands in the soil planting gardens. What I like most about my career are the people and places that I encounter along the way. Each person and every place has its own story, and sometimes I’m even lucky enough to get to leave my mark.
Lucinda’s top tips for those hoping to start their own business
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths and layer others in to support you where needed.
Start with a simple idea, then expand as your business grows.
Be passionate about what you’re doing.
Surround yourself with a robust support system.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help